A cedilla ( ; from Spanish), also known as (from Portuguese, European or Brazilian ) or (from French, ), is a hook or tail ( ¸ ) added under certain letters as a diacritical mark to modify their pronunciation. In Catalan, French, and Portuguese, it is used only under the ''c'' (forming ''ç''), and the entire letter is called, respectively, (i.e. "broken C"), , and (or , colloquially). It is used to mark vowel nasalization in many languages of sub-Saharan Africa, including Vute from Cameroon.


The tail originated in Spain as the bottom half of a miniature cursive z. The word "cedilla" is the diminutive of the Old Spanish name for this letter, ''ceda'' (zeta). Modern Spanish and Galician no longer use this diacritic, although it is used in Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, and French, which gives English the alternative spellings of ''cedille'', from French "'", and the Portuguese form '. An obsolete spelling of ''cedilla'' is ''cerilla''. The earliest use in English cited by the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' is a 1599 Spanish-English dictionary and grammar. Chambers’ ''Cyclopædia''Chambers, Ephraim (1738) ''Cyclopædia; or, an universal dictionary of arts and sciences'' (2nd ed.) is cited for the printer-trade variant ''ceceril'' in use in 1738. The main use in English is not universal and applies to loan words from French and Portuguese such as "façade", "limaçon" and "cachaça" (often typed "facade", "limacon" and "cachaca" because of lack of ''ç'' keys on Anglophone keyboards). With the advent of modernism, the calligraphic nature of the cedilla was thought somewhat jarring on sans-serif typefaces, and so some designers instead substituted a comma design, which could be made bolder and more compatible with the style of the text. This reduces the visual distinction between the cedilla and the diacritical comma.


The most frequent character with cedilla is "ç" ("c" with cedilla, as in ''façade''). It was first used for the sound of the voiceless alveolar affricate in old Spanish and stems from the Visigothic form of the letter "z" (ꝣ), whose upper loop was lengthened and reinterpreted as a "c", whereas its lower loop became the diminished appendage, the cedilla. It represents the "soft" sound , the voiceless alveolar sibilant, where a "c" would normally represent the "hard" sound (before "a", "o", "u", or at the end of a word) in English and in certain Romance languages such as Catalan, Galician, French (where ç appears in the name of the language itself, '), Ligurian, Occitan, and Portuguese. In Occitan, Friulian and Catalan ''ç'' can also be found at the beginning of a word (', ') or at the end ('). It represents the voiceless postalveolar affricate (as in English "church") in Albanian, Azerbaijani, Crimean Tatar, Friulian, Kurdish, Tatar, Turkish (as in ', ', ', '), and Turkmen. It is also sometimes used this way in Manx, to distinguish it from the velar fricative. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, ⟨ç⟩ represents the voiceless palatal fricative.


The character "ş" represents the voiceless postalveolar fricative (as in "show") in several languages, including many belonging to the Turkic languages, and included as a separate letter in their alphabets: * Turkish ** For example, it is used in Turkish words and names like etc. * Azerbaijani * Crimean Tatar * Gagauz * Tatar * Turkmen * Romanian (substitution use when S-comma was missing from pre-3.0 Unicode standards, and older standards, still frequent, but an error) * Kurdish ** For example, it is used in Kurdish words and names like etc. In HTML character entity references Ş and ş can be used.

Languages with other characters with cedillas


Comparatively, some consider the diacritics on the palatalized Latvian consonants and formerly to be cedillas. Although their Adobe glyph names are commas, their names in the Unicode Standard are "g", "k", "l", "n", and "r" with a cedilla. The letters were introduced to the Unicode standard before 1992, and their names cannot be altered. The uppercase equivalent "Ģ" sometimes has a regular cedilla.


In Marshallese orthography, four letters in Marshallese have cedillas: < >. In standard printed text they are ''always'' cedillas, and their omission or the substitution of comma below and dot below diacritics are nonstandard. , many font rendering engines do not display ''any'' of these properly, for two reasons: * "" and "" usually do not display properly at all, because of the use of the cedilla in Latvian. Unicode has precombined glyphs for these letters, but most quality fonts display them with comma below diacritics to accommodate the expectations of Latvian orthography. This is considered nonstandard in Marshallese. The use of a zero-width non-joiner between the letter and the diacritic can alleviate this problem: "" and "" may display properly, but may not; see below. * "" and "" do not currently exist in Unicode as precombined glyphs, and must be encoded as the plain Latin letters "" and "" with the combining cedilla diacritic. Most Unicode fonts issued with Windows do not display combining diacritics properly, showing them too far to the right of the letter, as with Tahoma ("" and "") and Times New Roman ("" and ""). This mostly affects "", and may or may not affect "". But some common Unicode fonts like Arial Unicode MS ("" and ""), Cambria ("" and "") and Lucida Sans Unicode ("" and "") do not have this problem. When "" is properly displayed, the cedilla is either underneath the center of the letter, or is underneath the right-most leg of the letter, but is always directly underneath the letter wherever it is positioned. Because of these font display issues, it is not uncommon to find nonstandard ''ad hoc'' substitutes for these letters. Th
online version of the Marshallese-English Dictionary
(the only complete Marshallese dictionary in existence) displays the letters with dot below diacritics, all of which do exist as precombined glyphs in Unicode: "", "", "" and "". The first three exist in the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration, and "" exists in the Vietnamese alphabet, and both of these systems are supported by the most recent versions of common fonts like Arial, Courier New, Tahoma and Times New Roman. This sidesteps most of the Marshallese text display issues associated with the cedilla, but is still inappropriate for polished standard text.


In 1868, Ambroise Firmin-Didot suggested in his book ' (Observations on French Spelling) that French phonetics could be better regularized by adding a cedilla beneath the letter "t" in some words. For example, the suffix ' this letter is usually not pronounced as (or close to) in French, but as . It has to be distinctly learned that in words such as ' (but not ') it is pronounced . A similar effect occurs with other prefixes or within words. Firmin-Didot surmised that a new character could be added to French orthography. A letter of the same description T-cedilla (majuscule: Ţ, minuscule: ţ) is used in Gagauz. A similar letter, the T-comma (majuscule: Ț, minuscule: ț), does exist in Romanian, but it has a comma accent, not a cedilla.


The Unicode characters for Ţ (T with cedilla) and Ş (S with cedilla) were wrongly implemented in Windows-1250, the code page for Romanian. In Windows 7, Microsoft corrected the error by replacing T-cedilla with T-comma (Ț) and S-cedilla with S-comma (Ș).


Vute, a Mambiloid language from Cameroon, uses cedilla for the nasalization of all vowel qualities (cf. the ogonek used in Polish and Navajo for the same purpose). This includes unconventional roman letters that are formalized from the IPA into the official writing system. These include <''i̧ ȩ ɨ̧ ə̧ a̧ u̧ o̧ ɔ̧>.''


Gagauz uses Ţ (T with cedilla), one of the few languages to do so, and Ş (S with cedilla). Besides being present in some Gagauz orthographies, T with Cedilla exists as part of the General Alphabet of Cameroon Languages, in the Kabyle dialect of the Berber language, in the Manjak and Mankanya languages, and possibly elsewhere.


The ISO 259 romanization of Biblical Hebrew uses Ȩ (E with cedilla) and Ḝ (E with cedilla and breve).

Similar diacritics

Languages such as Romanian add a comma (virgula) to some letters, such as ', which looks like a cedilla, but is more precisely a diacritical comma. This is particularly confusing with letters which can take either diacritic: for example, the consonant is written as "ş" in Turkish but "ș" in Romanian, and Romanian writers will sometimes use the former instead of the latter because of insufficient font or character-set support. The Polish letters and and Lithuanian letters and are not made with the cedilla either, but with the unrelated ogonek diacritic.


Unicode provides precomposed characters for some Latin letters with cedillas. Others can be formed using the cedilla combining character.


External links

ScriptSource—Positioning the traditional cedilla

Diacritics Project—All you need to design a font with correct accents

Learn how to make world language accent marks and other diacriticals on a computer {{Latin script||cedilla Category:Latin-script diacritics Category:Turkish language